F. Castellani

The cubism experiments have not yet finished, although the last Venice Biennale (also known as the International Art Exhibition in Venice) showed it to be the contrary. Numerous painters, mainly Italians, that were cubists and worked for cubists, have changed to other trends. We could say that a special sacred respect for pictures of humans has been imposed against the extreme distorted pictures that come from German social expressionism (that started fifty years ago) as well as current cubism.

A strong tendency for the distortion of the human figure also exists in sculpture, although it is not of pure cubist origin. Sculpture has a limited field of action if you compare it with painting; and to disregard the human figure, as the avant-garde artists say: is not an easy thing for sculptors. However, it is not our intention to focus on sculpture, but on painting, because of a personal exhibition that was held, in the Galleria dell’Ordine della Valiglia on Fabri Street, of the Spanish artist Antonio Fuentes Contreras, Tangiers resident.


In the past, Fuentes Contreras also made cubist figures, not due to anxiety but due to his interest in the Arabic culture, creating geometrically calculated compositions. Over the years, he realised that one must disregard Picasso’s figures and Braque’s “dead nature” (“still life”) in order to give variety to a world of oriental delights. It does not refer to the world discovered by Ingres, Delacroix or Matisse being enclosed in harems but the world observed over many years in the labyrinth of the “Alcazaba” (Arabic castle), at the foot of the battlements, where you cope with the heat, the turbulent and lazy life and become overwhelmed with nature. All of this is practically unknown to Europeans.

In Fuentes’ pictures, the general erroneous concept of Morocco is eliminated: a dazzling contrast between white lights and violet shades. For him everything is in colour. At every street corner you find every colour of the rainbow, separated by define lines from the sun. Everything loses its objective consistency in order to obtain a fantastic concrete value. Fuentes’ impression of Morocco is not in his mind, it is real. The way he expresses himself is not like Picasso’s friendly way. Fuentes coincides with Picasso in a sincere simplifying way, of dismissing the superfluous things, arranging and projecting space in an Arabic way, that constitute the essence of real vision..

On the other hand, Picasso never really worried about the landscape, so his “tropical plants” and his “fumatos de Vallauris” (these are two of only a few known paintings of this type) do not create interest for his other multiform activity. This is the important part of Fuentes Contreras personality and the value of his new African landscapes. Looking out to the Mediterranean lights, he finds the most modern and current art expressions, creating between both continents that continuity of spiritual relationships that undoubtedly represents the great conquest of art.

“Il Gazzetino” - Venice, 21st October 1964.


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